Saturday, January 16, 2010

‘Eats with Sinners: Reaching Hungry People Like Jesus Did’ by Arron Chambers - Book Review

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Jesus gave us this command in Matthew 28:18-19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Arron Chambers is the senior pastor of Journey Christian Church in Greeley, Colorado.  He lives out this command.  His life goal is: “To go to Heaven and take as many people with me as possible!” 

His latest book, ‘Eat with Sinners: Reaching Hungry People Like Jesus Did’ provides us with a biblical model for evangelism that was exemplified by Jesus.  In His day, sharing a meal with someone meant that were acknowledged as an equal.  It was an act of intimacy, as pointed out by Pastor Chambers.  The Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, regularly were outraged at Jesus for the company He kept.  The Hebrew word for Pharisees is ‘set apart’ – and they lived that out, judging others and placing themselves above – and apart from - the crowd.  Jesus set out to point out the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of these rules followers.  The first rule for Jesus is found in Matthew 28:36-40, in response to a question from a Pharisee: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied:   "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Pastor Chambers points out the fact that “Jesus eagerly ate with sinners on earth because he longed to eat with them in heaven.  Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom (Luke 5:34,35) putting on a great banquet meal (Luke 12:36; 14:13, 16, 17, 24) that one day he will eat in the kingdom of Heaven with everyone who accepts his invitation” (p. 13).

 ‘Eats with Sinners’ gives us thirteen ingredients (in the form of chapters) that Jesus used in His recipe to reach lost people.  The list is integrity, accessibility, grace, faith, intimacy, tolerance, resolve, urgency, mercy, humility, investment, joy, and vision.     

In the chapter on Urgency, Arron has this to say:

“The sun is shining.  The harvest is ready…. We must – with a sense of urgency – work to bring the harvest in…. The Mennonites have a saying: ‘We are living in the time of God’s patience.’  God is patiently waiting for us to open our eyes, to notice that the harvest is ready, and to help him bring it in before it’s too late.” (p. 131)

Eats with Sinners’  is reaching me at a time when the Lord is showing me time and time again in a myriad of ways how much He loves us.  I have the tendency to judge and criticize others, and not extend the compassion and love as the Lord expects.  As Christians, we can also fall into a Christian clique in which we rarely connect with or interact with non-Christians.  Jesus met with sinner on a regular basis.  We need to remember that we are sinners saved by grace, and that we need to not forget from whence we came.   Jesus loved, and we need to remember to do the same.  I appreciate the methods that Arron gives us in order to get to – or back to – the way Jesus lived His life while walking among us.  The book is provocative and heartwarming, while also very entertaining (and funny in spots).  Arron provides some wonderful anecdotes and real-life examples from himself and others.  He also provides some tasty-sounding recipes that you can prepare for your meals with those who do not yet know Him (and those who do!) – including Darkness to Light Cookies, Compassion Chicken Soup, Friendship Chocolate Pie, and What a Catch Fish Packets.    

This is a great book for individual study or small group study.   Each chapter includes a Meal Plan – questions for personal or group study, as well as a Meal Plan, in which you set up a meal with someone with the objective of building a stronger relationship and focusing on each of the ingredients used by Jesus.  This book, if employed, will add to and build up the Kingdom of God – and isn’t that one big reason why we’re here?!  

Other books by Arron are:

'Eats with Sinners: Reaching Hungry People Like Jesus Did' was provided to me by Standard Publishing for review purposes.  There was no other remuneration, and the opinions and thoughts are mine alone.


Kevin said...

can't wait to have the extra money to be able to get this book. Thank you Arron for all that you do.

Andrea said...

Kevin -

Thanks for stopping by! You are blessed to sit under Pastor Chambers' pastorate if you attend his church!

Blessings -


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